Orchards and horses

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Orchards and horses

This is a discussion on Orchards and horses within the Barn Maintenance forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
  • Horses orchard fruit
  • Preventing horse eating fruit trees

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    03-19-2012, 11:23 AM
Orchards and horses

The farm we are trying to get has 3 orchards on it. We are planning on ripping out 2 of them for horse pasture. The best location for the barn and main pasture has the older fruit trees, and I feel bad killing them. Would it be bad to leave a few in the pasture? I don't know what type of trees they are yet, I guess I need to get someone out from a nursery to tell me. Of course the horses come first, so if they are bad i'll have them all ripped out. The farm my parents kept their horses at had a pear tree in the pasture and my old gelding loved eating those pears, and he never coliced or anything. Has anyone had experience with this?
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    03-19-2012, 11:55 AM
If it were me, I wouldn't have any fruit trees in my pasture. I think of it as the equivalent of leaving the door open to the grain storage. I know that my horse would not stop eating, especially if it were apples. I have a friend who kept an older horse in a pasture with a couple of apple trees. They went out and had to pick up the fruit daily to keep the horse from over eating, they went on vacation for a few days and the horse colicked. The neighbors were watching the property, but didn't know to pick up the apples.

The other problem with fruit trees is they can be very messy. You have to pick up the fallen fruit frequently or you can have a huge problem with insects and rodents which is also not great for horses.

If you love the idea of an orchard and want to keep some of the trees, you can always fence off a couple of the trees in the pasture. If maintained, it can make a lovely addition to your home, and your horses would love a fresh apple from time to time.
    03-19-2012, 09:29 PM
My horses are in a pasture with two old pear trees. We have never had a problem with them getting sick or colicing, and we don't pick up the pears. Keep in mind that the size of the tree may change this. While the trees we have are older they don't produce a TON of fruit. The horses eat what drops on the ground, so its really not too many a day since the tree doesn't bear a ton of fruit.
    03-19-2012, 09:56 PM
That is true pepperduck. I guess she should probably ask about how much they produce. Plus I have a peach tree, and it is a pain (i'd be tempted to cut it down if the peaches weren't so good)! It produces a ton of fruit and if we don't pick the fruit up daily, we get a huge bee and insect problem...of course it is nowhere near our horse;) I'm thinking peaches would be a no no for horses left unattended, but I could be wrong.
    03-24-2012, 04:40 PM
A friend of mine in Vermont has two apple trees in her horse pasture, and they will only eat the apples if she picks them... I'm sure all horses are different though!
    03-24-2012, 04:47 PM
Super Moderator
Absolutely no problem. I have had horses turned out in orchards over the years and never had a problem with them over eating the fruits.
They will eat several but then move on to the grass.

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